Bookwyrm 2017

The fact that I wrote about Bookwyrm 2016 in my previous post tells you a couple of things. First, it tells you that I am terrible at blogging. One post every year is not a blogging schedule. I accidentally step in gum with greater frequency. Second, it makes it obvious that this Bookwyrm thing is important and inspirational enough to get my lazy ass past the first thing.

Bookwyrm is a Fresno area Role Playing Game convention, hosted by the Fresno County Public Library. This was the fifth year for the event, and I had a great time playing games and spending time with friends.

Last Dance for The Agents of F.U.N.K.

I ran a FATE Accelerated game back in Bookwyrm 2015 called “Dr. Disco vs. The Agents of F.U.N.K.” It was a silly mash up of music, movies, and Saturday morning cartoons from my childhood in the 70’s. It was a lot of fun and I brought it back for Bookwyrm 2016 as “The Agents of F.U.N.K.: We are Big in Japan!” This year, the funkiness concluded with “The Agents of F.U.N.K.: The Trial of Meadowlark Lemon.” The entire adventure was focused on gathering enough evidence to clear the famous Harlem Globetrotter frontman of murdering the mayor of Atlanta in front of a crowded coliseum.

I had never tried to create a mystery adventure, and it was challenging to keep from being too linear. I knew that the players would need to collect clues and evidence, but I didn’t want to limit them to a set path of investigation. I ended up writing the clues and evidence on index cards and then placed them at the locations that naturally developed during play. The clues led the players to investigate new people and places, while the accumulating evidence acted as a way to signal the end of the adventure.

The session went well and I was lucky to have a couple of really strong players. One of them had played the same character in all three Agents of F.U.N.K. adventures, and had moved from field agent to acting director over the years. I’ve decided to retire the series and move on to something new for next year.

Masks is my Favorite Flavor of the Apocalypse

Masks: A New Generation is a teenage superhero roleplaying game powered by the Apocalypse World Engine. This is easily the best of the five Apocalypse based RPGs that I’ve tried. My son and I played a session on Saturday afternoon with some close friends, and we both loved it.

The system really captures the spirit of the superhero genre and creates some very interesting player relationships and backgrounds. My son created a tragically transformed teen called Metalmorph, while I created a legacy character that was the son of a very famous superhero named The Summit. My character was known as Kid The Summit.

This was the hit of the weekend for me, and I hope to play this again soon. I almost played it twice on the weekend of Bookwyrm, and it immediately made my buy list.

Feng Shui Outa Control

A buddy of mine used the Feng Shui 2 RPG system to run a Star Wars based adventure. It was fun but was bogged down by an indecisive player. My friend did his best to keep things moving and I felt like he was able to capture the fast action feeling of the Star Wars films and animated series. I may try and convince him to run this again. Even under difficult circumstances, I enjoyed it enough to want to play it again.

I haven’t played many RPGs based in a science fiction setting. I think I may try to run something in that genre next year. Maybe a Flash Gordon kind of cinematic adventure using a modified version of the FATE Accelerated rules? That could be fun.

Phoenix: Dawn Command

The last game of the weekend was supposed to be Dungeon World, but that ended up not happening, which gave me a chance to try Phoenix: Dawn Command, a card driven RPG designed by Keith Baker. This was tough on a Sunday afternoon. I was tired and my brain was too foggy to make sense of the rule system. Eventually, with a bit of caffeine, we got the hang of it and I do think it’s a very cool game. The cards are particularly neat.

In Phoenix: Dawn Command, the players are demigods fighting the forces of evil. If the player is defeated during battle, they are reborn in a new, more powerful form. They have a limited number of rebirths before the end of the story and I do like story games that have a determined end condition.

So until next time my friends, play some games and relax. Send me some feedback, especially if you were also at this year’s Bookwyrm. I would love to hear your thoughts, but that would be telepathy, so maybe just type your thoughts out in the comment section.